Riyadh hindering UN investigation into the Khashoggi murder

The UN Special Rapporteur visited the neighbourhood where the Saudi consulate is located but was not allowed to enter its premises nor speak to its staff. Turkey is pushing for an international inquiry. A report is expected by May.


Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Saudi authorities are trying to hinder, if not block, the work of the UN team investigating into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed last 2 October in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Various international observers believe that the assassination took place on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), Saudi Arabia’s number two, a charge rejected by Saudi authorities.

This morning, Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on executions in charge of the Khashoggi inquiry, said her request to visit the Saudi consulate in Istanbul had not been approved. So far, she has not had any meeting with Saudi officials to assess the facts.

Ms Callamard arrived in Turkey yesterday for a week-long mission to look into the brutal murder, as head of an “independent international inquiry” with a three-member team of investigators, including a forensic specialist.

Results of the inquiry should be available in May to be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council but there is uncertainty about the date.

The senior UN official visited the Istanbul neighbourhood where the Saudi consulate is located, but she was not allowed in. “We just wanted to have a sense of it,” she told reporters.

Speaking outside the building, Callamard noted that she had requested access to the site from the Saudi government and to meet Saudi authorities both in Turkey and in the kingdom.

“To be fair the request to them has come quite late, so we need to give them a bit more time to process our request,” she added.

Ahead of Ms Callamard’s visit, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was high time for an international inquiry.

In Davos, at the World Economic Forum, the Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said his government wants justice as well, but so far little has been done.

To help the rapporteur’s inquiry, Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to share its intercepted recordings of the crime, which should show how brutal the killing was.

For their part, the Turks have said nothing about what they made available to the UN representative.

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